Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Real Catholicism, Or Just Plain Social Compliance?

That is ultimately the decision we all come to terms with-or maybe just avoid.  I happen to think we choose and make real what is our ultimate decision.  For me the ultimate does not suck.  It actually can be made manifest in this all too often sucky reality.

The following is taken from Clerical Whispers.  It brings up some important questions.  I've been thinking about some of these questions for a long time.  I suspect a lot of priests and run of the mill lay Catholics have as well.  Ultimately the real questions, as our teachers present them to us, seem to revolve around the idea of Magic Church and Magic Jesus, or real life experiences with real life questions. The most meaningful answer is all about our own path,  and not about absolute tangible consensus answers.  I wish it was different, but it's not.

A friend has pointed me to an article by Lynne Kelleher in the Irish Independent, which was taken up by an American blogger calling himself The Deacon’s Bench.

The article quoted Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin as suggesting that Ireland’s lapsed Catholics should have the maturity to leave the Church.

In an obvious reference to “cultural Catholics” who  want to be married in a church and have their children baptised for purely social reasons, the archbishop is alleged to have said: 

“It requires maturity on those people who want their children to become members of the Church community and maturity on those people who say ‘I don’t believe in God. I really shouldn’t be hanging on to the vestiges of faith when I don’t really believe in it.’”

He was followed by Fr Michael Drumm from the Catholic Schools Partnership who said that the Church in Ireland would be firmer in future with parents wanting to have their children baptised as Catholics.

The blog led to some interesting comments in the posts that followed: a fellow US Catholic deacon stated that “in a few cases I’ve refused to marry a couple or baptise an infant until the adults involved demonstrated that their faith would be meaningful and practised”. 

Yet another deacon related that he was asked by his parish priest to baptise the baby of a non-churchgoing, unmarried mother and also give her instruction – and that she did come to Mass sometimes afterwards.

Generally the responses were evenly divided between those who agreed (cautiously) with Archbishop Martin and who felt that if it were known that the family did not intend to raise their child as a Catholic, baptism should be delayed until their attitude had changed; and those who felt this attitude lacked compassion: lost or wavering sheep should be welcomed and supported, not shunned. (Inevitably, a few posts said the Irish Church was in no position to preach to anyone, given her recent history etc).

I am never sure which way to jump in this debate – and priestly responses vary. 

One priest I know always baptises on request with no questions asked, believing he should give non-practising parents the benefit of the doubt; yet another used to firmly insist on attendance at sessions of instruction beforehand, as a way of showing parental commitment.

I also recall an elderly priest, on the occasion of a First Communion family jamboree, telling me with sadness that he did not expect to see the parents or child again in the church – and he was proved right.

If I were a priest I would want to point out that baptism shouldn’t be done just to please the grandparents; that First Communion is more than an occasion to buy an expensive dress for family photographs; and that a church wedding shouldn’t be requested in order to have a tasteful backdrop.

But what if this puts off the enquirers from coming to church again? 

Is mercy rather than justice required here?
I first want to apologize for not posting for awhile.   Life has it's ups and downs and I was trying to determine if I was in an up or down.  I think ultimately for me it's an up, but for others it may be a down.  That kind of thing is always in the hearts of the beholder.  It's the same thing with this article.  I don't think it's a matter of mercy or justice, it's a matter of belief or knowing.  If the priest believes and knows what he is doing in Baptism or Marriage makes a real difference, he will follow through with the Sacrament.  If one doesn't believe, then it doesn't matter.
But what if belief matters? What if one's belief is all the difference in the world?  What if the more we believe the more things change?  I sometimes think that the fear of the right wing is more believable than the hope of the non right.  I would say left wing but that's not true.  The left is not moving on hope, but reacting against fear.  
It seems to me we can let fear rule, or we can move beyond fear.  To do that is to give up the ego.  It's to stop worrying about survival and trust we do survive beyond our material self.  Jesus was all about going beyond survival and for two thousand years we've done our best to prove He was wrong.  He wasn't and we are .  It ultimately doesn't matter what any priest decides.  It only matters how people live the experience.  That has zero to do with control and everything to do with faith.  Unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church had decided control is more important than faith and that's really sad.  More than that it spells the end of it's existence.  


  1. Funny cartoon and great caption.

    "For me the ultimate does not suck. It actually can be made manifest in this all too often sucky reality."

    It sure can get sucky!! LOL....

    This makes sense to me. For example, I noticed whenever I envision something, it can and will manifest itself most of the time. Those things pertaining to the heart and spirit with good intent and not for ego reasons. It's not magic. It's thoughtfully meditating and acting and manifesting that which from what the soul needs, or loves, or yearns to be in existence. Such as planting a garden and knowing which plants prefer the shadows and dappled sunlight and knowing those which can thrive in arid strong all day long sunshine and those that will not. I can plant seeds there and I know certain seeds will grow in these right light and balanced soil conditions & properties. In the wrong conditions the plants or flowers will not prosper from the lack of wisdom. I just need some dirt, seeds, a knowingness of the sun's direction and faith the seeds will do what they have always done before. In the spring, in their time, when tiny leaf buds and stems push their way up and up to the light, when the Earth has thawed from winter, what has been planted will grow, as since it has during hundreds or thousands of years. Barring that swift storms will not lay them to waste with too much wind and water. Even then, didn't Jesus calm the seas and no one drowned from the resulting peace?

    In planting fear, we make more weapons and seem to find a way to war and some profit off the entire idea of people's fear. It gives some worldly power, a false power though. Not the power of a force of love, the same force that raised Lazarus from the dead, made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, made the sun to shine, the air to breathe, the earth to dwell. If we don't buy into fear anymore, it will disappear. That's not a magic trick. That's determination of Faith and making a dream of peace a reality, imho. And it was the message of Jesus.

  2. "That has zero to do with control and everything to do with faith. Unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church had decided control is more important than faith and that's really sad. More than that it spells the end of it's existence."

    The Bishops clearly have put themselves in schism with the People of God since Humanae vitae. True as it was that many of them did not like or believe in this piece of Bandini (Bandini is the company that used to package cow manure in california.) Part of JP II litmus test for appointment was this piece of Bandini. Now we are stuck with leadership that has imploded the entire church from within the center. We have a misogynistic, homophobic, group of men that have horribly misbehaved in the sexual crisis and the Vatican Banking arrangements with the mafia. Papa Razi and this men of the magisterium (magic hysterium = a testosterone poor Bishop without a uterus) now demand belief of the People of God of their nonsense. They are also asking people to believe the Bishops magic science that equates the birth control pill with abortion. Well over 90% of Catholic women use the BC Pill!! Boom pop goes he weasel. All but the enablers of child molesters who are supposed celibates are going to hell. Not only are we going to hell but we will go praying a latinized English with its run on sentences and poor grammar just because the Vatican says so.

    The pieces will be put in some semblance of order. What stucture will an Actual People of God take. You know the one that believes in The Way of Christ. You remember the Christ that asked us to ever increase our life standards to approach the behavior He asked us to attempt on Sermon on the Mount. This behavior has nothing to do with the Bishops control but even worse it has nothing to do with the Bishops own misbehavior.

    Yes the RCC has been dead as a faith group for some time now and I think it happened during my life time. It's going to take a lot more time to put something acceptable together for the leadership is in the hands of societies deconstrutionists. These men do not allow growth and development. What ever form societies constructionists take to reform this group, it will have to be done without the leadership.


  3. I believe in God but I don't believe in you Archoverseer Martin is a better way to frame a two way conversation between two equal children of God - and not a child of God being talked down to from some g-damned chair on an elevated platform.
    rdp46 - Yes, Humanae vitae was the beginning of the culture wars in the sixties and seventies in America. The old Social Contract whatever it originaly was between Man and Church got broken when they tried to put their greedy little hands down there without first asking our permission.

  4. Thank you very much for your thought, that is true, nowadays control is most important in the Church than faith. I think we dont understand the real meaning of been a "believer". But you have so clear explained, that I recommend your article everybody. Congratulations.

  5. If we r not afraid why do we stay in the Roman church?
    Jesus was Jewish not catholic.
    I find it illogical to believe those who enable child abuse. Honest in small things, honest in big things. It is a shame. Is not an option needed so that another route opens to lead those afraid into Life? Maybe it is our responsibility to help create alternatives to the roman church.

  6. Off topic but please read this:


  7. Colleen, I'm concerned to hear about the ups and downs, though happy that the period you've slogged through lately seems to be turning out to ben up period. You're in my thoughts.